New Tucson Mayor sworn in
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - For the first time in more than a decade Tucson has a new mayor at the helm.
Attorney Jonathan Rothschild was sworn in Monday as Tucson's new mayor.
Mayor Rothschild comes into office with the City of Tucson hobbled by shaky finances and a shaky economy. The troubled Rio Nuevo downtown redevelopment project is a continuing sore point. But he's optimistic he can energize the city and really improve things.
Jonathan Rothschild became Tucson's new mayor, with a round of applause and a hug for every member of City Council.
He replaces Bob Walkup, who had a reputation as a mayor people liked even if they didn't like how the city performed.
Tucson's city charter gives the mayor fairly limited power but Mayor Rothschild says don't underestimate what he can do.
"Everyone thinks there's not a lot of power but from all the people that have been calling me over the last three weeks there must be something to the job."
Rothschild says a lot of his clout will involve setting the agenda, dealing with regional agencies, and the federal government.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked the new mayor: "What impression does the city leave with it's citizens and the people it deals with now, and what do you want that to be?"
Rothschild: "Well, I think, and I'm not sure how different we are from the rest of the United States, but I think we're a city that needs a sprucing up, needs an infusion of spirit and really a sense of purpose of where we're going."
Mayor Rothschild will be the new element on a council that otherwise has the same makeup it's had for the past few years.
Councilmember Regina Romero says the new mayor shares some of her interests.
"I've talked to him about economic development and making sure that we're working together to push the policies that the mayor and council has already passed, like the global economic development district and the Tucson-Mexico task force that we're working on."
Mayor Rothschild sees communication as a big part of his mission. He says he'll be roaming city hall, meeting as many employees as he can and learning as much as possible about them and their work. He also says he'll have news conferences every Friday and his first one should reveal some of the staff changes he'll make.
Still ahead is a decision on who should be the new Tucson City Manager. Former Police Chief, and Deputy City Manager Richard Miranda has been serving as interim manager since the Council fired Mike Letcher in September.
Deciding on a city manager is the Council's responsibility. Mayor Rothschild says Tucsonans deserve a nationwide search for a new manager, but he was also quick to say his contacts with Miranda through the transition make him say Miranda is doing a great job.